Child welfare agencies are facing budget cuts in programs and services and are struggling to provide the most basic of needs such as medical check-ups and food. Standing in the gap for these overworked and under-funded agencies in Alameda County are a host of experienced and loving professionals, volunteers and families who are dedicated to meeting the challenges facing disadvantaged mothers. One such group is Loved Twice whose mission is to provide, at no cost, decent, clean clothing to the county’s youngest citizens up to 1 year old. The idea for this organization was born in 2005 when founder and executive director, Lisa Klein saw the need of the victims of Hurricane Katrina televised and heard the anguished cries of “disadvantaged mothers who simply wanted to keep their babies warm.” Motivated to do something, Klein got together with a few friends and collected gently used baby clothes and blankets. This act of love, however, turned out to be a rallying call to others in the Bay Area to do likewise. Long after the clothing drive was over, the donations kept coming. It wasn’t difficult to form a volunteer group to address the needs of infants in Alameda County where one in four children are born into poverty. More and more bags of usable clothing kept showing up at her front door and soon a friend and the owner of the Bay Area's Cool Tops Cuts for Kids came to the rescue and volunteered space in its three salons. “The generosity of people is overwhelming,” Klein said. The donated baby clothes are cleaned and separated into sizes and packaged in 10-pound boxes. Many of the boxes include a handmade baby blanket knitted by senior volunteers. Each box is enough clothing to get a small infant through the first 12 months of life. Working exclusively with 20 local hospitals, prenatal clinics, shelters and safe houses, Loved Twice has delivered more than 20,000 pounds of baby clothes to more than 3,000 newborns in Alameda County since 2007. Klein said that their ultimate goal is to be able to provide 100 pounds of clothing and diapers per month to each of the agencies they have partnered with. Loved Twice has been nominated by Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s and People Magazine for an All-Stars Among Us recognition. This recognition, to be presented at the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, will shine a national spotlight on this well deserving, local nonprofit and will increase donations to help them reach their goal of 10 boxes per month times 20 plus agencies. To vote for Klein and Loved Twice, visit www.mlb.com/peopleallstarsamongus. Voting ends June 20. To read more about Klein and Loved Twice, visit its website at www.lovedtwice.org. On the website you will also find the addresses to drop off your no longer needed baby clothes. Due to safety and other concerns Loved Twice will only take clothing and monetary donations.